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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

NY Prison Has Center for Dementia

From washingtonpost.com: Prisons have been dealing with the special needs of older prisoners for years, but the one in Fishkill, New York state prison is considered unique because it specializes in dementia-related conditions.

The unit _ 30 beds on the third floor of the prison's medical center _ is a first for New York and possibly the nation, though experts say it likely won't be the last as more people grow old behind bars.

The unit has the clean-white-wall feel of a nursing home _ but for the prison bars. A marker board in the day room includes a picture of a sun with a smiley face and a reminder to "Have a great day." The activity calendar lists puppies on Thursday and bingo on Friday. As long as they behave, patients can wander from their rooms to the day room.

"They're still in prison," said Fishkill superintendent William Connolly. "This is just a unique environment within a prison environment."

Connolly said the men's crimes are not considered in the screening process, though their prison record matters. The idea is to provide proper care and a safe environment. Rest of Article. . . [Mrk Godsey]

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